It will get a little more expensive to hook up your RV at Oregon’s busiest campgrounds this year.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department announced a $3 increase for electric and full hookup campsites at select state parks, in effect during the busy camping season from May 28 to Sept. 6.
The fee increase comes as the parks department continues to anticipate big revenue losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, the department laid off 47 full-time and 338 seasonal employees as officials estimated a $22 million budget shortfall by June 2021. Park officials now estimate the budget shortfall will total $20 million.
Monday’s announcement comes just before the one-year anniversary of the closure of all Oregon state parks at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The loss of revenue as parks remained closed last spring, coupled with losses of Oregon State Lottery funds — which in large part fund the parks department — led to the shortfall.
“Our visitors and staff have weathered a rough 12 months,” parks director Lisa Sumption said in a news release Monday. “Our park staff, operating with fewer employees because of a revenue shortfall that prevented us from hiring our usual seasonal staff, have rallied and are looking forward to the coming months.”
Aside from the pandemic, Oregon’s state parks system suffered from devastating wildfires that swept across the state last summer, as well as brutal wind, rain and ice storms this winter. As the state’s busy camping season approaches, a few popular campgrounds remain closed.
The campground at Detroit Lake State Park east of Salem, which was burned by the Beachie Creek fire, remains closed, though park officials said it could reopen this summer. The same goes for the Collier Memorial State Park campground in southern Oregon, which was burned by the Two Four Two fire.
In both cases, campsite reservations will be available as soon as reopening dates are determined, park managers said.
The Ainsworth State Park campground in the Columbia River Gorge is ready to reopen as scheduled on March 12, but a landslide caused by winter storms is currently blocking access to it and nearby John B. Yeon State Park.
Most other campsites across the state have either reopened or are scheduled to reopen following closures caused by the pandemic, including Devils Lake and Cape Blanco state parks on the Oregon coast, which recently announced their reopenings.
An out-of-state camping surcharge, implemented during the pandemic, ended on March 1 and will not be in effect this year. Park officials said the department will consider making the change permanent in the future.
Public health precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remain in place at state park campgrounds. They include mask mandates at all indoor areas, including restrooms, and a one-day “resting period” between campers in all cabins and yurts to allow park staff to thoroughly clean the facilities.
Visitors are also asked to wear face masks in outdoor areas where it’s not possible to maintain at least six feet of distance from others, like busy viewpoints and on hiking trails.
Here is the full list of state park campgrounds that will see $3 fee increases for electric and full hookup RV sites:
Bullards Beach State Park
Cape Blanco State Park
Cape Lookout State Park
Champoeg State Heritage Area
Detroit Lake State Recreation Area
Devil’s Lake State Recreation Area
Fort Stevens State Park
Harris Beach State Park
Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park
L.L. Stub Stewart Memorial State Park
LaPine State Park
Nehalem Bay State Park
Silver Falls State Park
South Beach State Park
Sunset Bay State Park
The Cove Palisades State Park
Tumalo State Park
Valley of the Rogue State Park
Wallowa Lake State Park
William M. Tugman State Park